April 1, 2019

Dear Olin community,

This past week I spent three days at Olin to begin the process of engagement as we launch the search for the next President. My time on campus gave me an opportunity to meet with various groups in open forum settings, where I shared the outline of the search process and began to get input from the Olin community. I was impressed, but not surprised, by the passionate and insightful conversations that occurred in these sessions.

The following is a sample of what I heard, in no particular order.

  • There is pride in what President Miller, the faculty, students and staff have achieved to date, and confidence that the next phase can be as powerful – if not more so.
  • Transparency in the selection process is critical.
  • There are many ideas about the qualities desired of the next President and we have many questions to ask any candidate, as well as ideas for ensuring that some of the more nuanced characteristics the community desires are deeply embedded in that person. 
  • This search gives us the opportunity to further unify the college as we reflect on the possibilities for Olin and on what type of leader would best allow us to realize those possibilities.
  • The college is more aware than ever of the critical importance of diversity and social justice.
  • We need to ensure that there are ample opportunities for all people in the community to make their voices heard in this process. Suggestions include in-person forums that include a variety of voices; impromptu opportunities, such as with white boards or stickies; and online input.
  • The history and fabric of Olin are made up of poignant stories. These will need to be shared with the new President, at the right time, to give him or her the best guidance in leading this community. 
  • The whole onboarding process deserves careful thought.

It is very important to me that people know we intend to be as transparent as possible about the search process. To that end, I want to share the anticipated next steps in this search. 

As I mentioned in previous communications, I will be selecting a Vice Chair to help me in this process. I anticipate being able to let you know this week who that person will be. 

We will also assemble a Search Committee made up of people from across the Olin community. This week I heard a powerful analogy that resonates deeply with me. In one of the open forums, someone compared the Search Committee to a design team and described the wider community as the user group. We can’t all be on the design team, but we need to know that the designers see and hear us.

In the coming days, we will be asking for your recommendations on who should serve on the Search Committee. Please watch for an email telling you more about how and when we will solicit your input. 

And finally, I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude for the people who have been spending time with me to shape this part of the journey. It is a gift to be playing an integral role in this community at this critical time. 

Beverly Wyse P'15
Chair of the Search Committee